The USC Trojans have now won three straight, thanks to a big showing against Steven Montez and the undefeated Colorado Buffaloes. Everything seemed to be working for the Trojans on all phases of the ball. The Trojans hope to continue this success as they begin to play the second half of the season.
1. Defense can score touchdowns too
Apart from the fact that Ajene Harris had this third interception return for a touchdown in his career, it was the USC Trojans’ first defensive score of the season. For a team that had 16 touchdowns and nine forced fumbles the season before, the Trojans have been struggling to take the ball away from opposing offenses. Even though it took until October for USC to have its first defensive score, Harris’ interception came in a big moment. Halfway into the third quarter, Steven Montez and the Buffaloes had the ball looking to start a big drive. This did not last long however, as Harris caught a deflected pass from Montez and ran it back six yards to put the Trojans up by three scores. Overall, this was an exclamation point for how well the defense played on Saturday. Only allowing seven points to the Buffaloes in the first half, the Trojans defense limited quarterback Montez to 170 yards passing and usual 100 plus yard wide receiver Laviska Shenault Jr. to only 72 yards and no touchdowns for the whole game.
2. JT Daniels throws a pretty deep ball
Coming into the season, Trojan fans and the media did not know what to expect from the 2018 Gatorade High School Player of the year. After skipping his senior year of high school to play for USC, quarterback JT Daniels had something to prove. Coming into the game, Daniels had already thrown for 1,257 yards, an unprecedented number for a true freshman playing in the Pac-12. If Daniels had not already proved what he is capable of, he did so against Colorado. With 3:44 to go in the second quarter, Daniels uncorked a long arching ball to wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr., for a 65-yard touchdown reception.
Through the course of this season, Daniels has begun to become more comfortable in the pocket, taking more chances and looking more down field. If the Trojans wish to continue their success, they will have to rely on Daniels to consistently play at the level he is.
3. Chase McGrath who?
After the loss of reliable kicker Chase McGrath, the Trojans were looking at options for a new kicker. Even pondering on whether or not to use a soccer player, thought USC seems to have found their new man in Michael Brown. Since playing in his first career game against Washington State, the Sophomore kicker from Temecula seems to have found a place on the Trojans. Brown is perfect so far on the season, scoring 20 points, including a field goal for over 40 yards. Brown looks to be the savior for the Trojans, as he has been the difference in the close games that USC has played. Brown certainly gives hope to the team that many thought would no longer be considered for a Pac-12 Championship.
The Trojans currently have a three-game winning streak, and Brown and the Trojans look to make it four in a row when they take on the Utah Utes at Rice-Eccles Stadium next week.